Robert Bresson

Robert Bresson – Au hasard Balthazar AKA Balthazar (1966)

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Balthazar is a farm animal – a donkey – born into a life of servitude: a beast of burden destined to work the land, carry bales of hay, provide occasional transportation. His harsh, often exploited existence is paralleled through the life of Marie (Anne Wiazemsky), a reticent young woman whose father (Philippe Asselin) has been asked to maintain a friend’s farm after tragedy compels the owners to leave. Years later, the owner’s son, Jacques (Walter Green), returns to the farm to profess his support for Marie’s father, whose reputation has been ruined by persistent debt and rumors surrounding the unresolved ownership and usage of the farm. Jacques is devoted to Marie, but his declaration of love is received with complacent resignation. Read More »

Robert Bresson – Quatre nuits d’un rêveur AKA Four Nights of a Dreamer (1971)

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Tells of the love of a young ‘dreamer’ for the woman he meets on the Pont Neuf in Paris one summer night, her obsession with an absent lover and the four nights they spend together. Read More »

Robert Bresson – Le Diable probablement AKA The Devil Probably (1977)

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The story unfolds of a young man living in Paris. He wants more from life than the glib, superficial truths and material things that are on offer to him. He reaches out to his family and friends and psychiatrist to provide him with the great answers in life. But his spiritual deliverance remains beyond his grasp until he reaches a bizarre arrangement with a fellow hippie.

Robert Bresson is one of France’s most distinguished and influential film makers. His works include ‘Lancelot Du Lac’ and ‘L’Argent’ and he has won major prizes and unrestrained critical acclaim. Many distinguished critics regard THE DEVIL PROBABLY as a masterpiece, and one of Bresson’s greatest films. Artificial Eye Read More »

Robert Bresson – Une femme douce (1969)

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Bresson’s brilliant adaptation of Dostoevsky’s short story (A Gentle Creature) exhibits in its lapidary sequences the political and existential revolt of a young student in Paris. Sharing a theme that can be traced from Bresson’s Mouchette to his fantastic exploration of revolutionary choices in The Devil Probably, Une Femme Douce articulates in its inimitable minimalist mode a range of issues from the ideological options of France post-May ’68 to human relationships. Dominique Sanda is not the conventional, recognizable student revolutionary, but a “gentle” philosopher whose powers of sensitivity and social scrutiny exceed and tease the prosaic, crude disposition of her bourgeois husband. The sequences in the zoo, the museum of natural history and the performance of Hamlet are powerful. On another note, look out for Indian experimental filmmaker Kumar Shahani who was assisting Bresson at this time, sitting diagonally behind Sanda in the sequence at the movie theater.
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Robert Bresson – Un condamné à mort s’est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut AKA A Man Escaped (1956)

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Avoiding all the clichés of the prison movie genre, Robert Bresson achieves the impossible in A MAN ESCAPED: he presents a highly minimalist depiction of a prisoner plotting a jailbreak, and is still able to evoke incredible suspense despite the fact that the movie frequently consists of little more than a man toiling away quietly in his cell. Neither Bresson’s seemingly odd choice of a past-tense title, nor the fact that the film is based on a real WWII event in which a prisoner successfully escaped a German-run jail in occupied France, lessens the film’s impact. As in many of Bresson’s films, the protagonist is a possessed individual whose mission sustains him. While he may stubbornly continue planning, the viewer sees the potential hazards he may encounter and feels an incredible sense of tension each time his efforts are stalled. Bresson inserts a spiritual element into the prisoner’s behavior by emphasizing the ritualistic nature of his daily activities, and by showing how group activity and trust are required to resist the evil, personified by the Nazi captors. Gripping and sublime, A MAN ESCAPED is a cinematic masterpiece. Read More »

Robert Bresson – Les Affaires publiques (1934)

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Bresson’s first film is, totally uncharacteristically, a slapstick comedy, centred around two neighbouring republics, Crogandia and Miremia, and the various disasters that befall the ceremonial unveiling of a statue, the launching of a ship, and the crash-landing of a Miremian pilot in Crogandian territory. Read More »

François Weyergans – Cinéastes de notre temps: Robert Bresson – Ni vu, ni connu (1965)

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Description: Filmed mostly in his country home in 1965, ROBERT BRESSON – WITHOUT A TRACE is a revealing discussion with Bresson. Bresson at this time had completed six of his most well known films and was in the process of shooting Au Hasard Balthazar.

Usually a man of few words, having never before granted an interview on camera, Bresson agreed to answer the questions of a then-unknown writer François Weyergans, for the Cineaste de Notre Temps series.

Ranging over topics from the inspiration behind his films, to his ideas on the use of sound, actors, editing and music, and the state of (the then) contemporary cinema (from James Bond to the New Wave), Bresson describes his singular approach to filmmaking. Read More »